Horse Trust scholar Fernando Malalana, 31, is travelling to Ethiopia on 6 May to provide veterinary treatment to horses and donkeys.

The second-year vet student at Liverpool University is specialising in equine internal medicine, which covers various fields including cardiology, critical care, gastroenterology and ophthalmology.

Fernando will travel to Debre Zeit, Ethiopia, to spend three weeks doing voluntary work for animal charity SPANA.

Although he will be treating all types of veterinary cases, he will focus on horses and donkeys with eye and vision complaints.

The Horse Trust has also provided an indirect ophthalmoscope to enable Fernando and staff at the Ethiopian vet clinic to examine the donkeys and horses’ eyes.

Fernando said: “Vets on previous trips have noticed that many Ethiopian donkeys and horses have problems with their eyes and vision, sometimes causing extreme discomfort.

“By using specialist equipment, we will be able to diagnose problems more easily and earlier, so the animal can be treated before the problem gets worse.”

SPANA estimates that at least 40% of horses and donkeys in the area where it works have problems with their eyes — these range from relatively minor problems such as ulcers and small cataracts, to total blindness.

Fernando will also be helping train horse and donkey owners so they understand how to minimise the risk of eye injury and how to care for an animal that has vision problems.

Paul Jepson, chief executive and veterinary director of The Horse Trust said: “We are delighted that we are able to help horses and donkeys in Ethiopia, by providing this specialist equipment.

“Some of the horses and donkeys living at The Horse Trust’s sanctuary have eye problems, so we know first-hand how this can affect the animal’s quality of life, if it is not properly treated or managed.”